Friday, December 11, 2009

Auburn Dam

Those who are concerned about floods and water storage realize the continued need for the Auburn Dam, as this editorial from the Manteca Bulletin notes.

Also, the Auburn Dam remains a solution to ensuring the viability of the salmon in the Lower American River, as well as protecting the Parkway from flooding erosion, which is addressed in our research report.

An excerpt from the editorial.

“As water demands grow in Colorado, Arizona and Nevada, California will lose a portion of Colorado River water currently used in the south state.

“The California Department of Resources has offered three potential solutions — the political snake pit known as the Peripheral Canal, the long-stalled Auburn Dam, and raising the height of the Shasta Dam.

“The Peripheral Canal has long been the darling of Southern California metro water interests and the huge corporate agricultural interest in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

“Everyone in urban water planning looks at the amount of fresh water flowing into the Bay as a waste. Many farming interests share that position while environmentalists view any attempt to further stem the flow of fresh water as having the same impact on the Bay-Delta environment as dropping the atomic bomb had on Hiroshima.

“Save the water from flowing into the Bay. It is a dangerously simplistic solution. There are court mandates regarding salinity levels not to mention the protection order for the Delta Smelt. Salt intrusion has to be kept below a certain level or else the federal government hijacks fresh water to add to the flows flushing the Delta.

“If the Peripheral Canal takes Sacramento River water headed for Southern California and bypasses the Delta that leaves only the San Joaquin River system to make up for any shortfalls of fresh water. The most likely target for cleansing the Delta is the New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River.

“Raising the height of Shasta Dam is fraught with environmental concerns as is building the Auburn Dam.

“The Auburn Dam, though, can add the most storage and effectively handle one of the heaviest precipitation watersheds on the western slope of the Sierra. The reservoir could hold 2.1 million-acre feet — almost enough to meet statewide water shortfalls projected for 2025.

“The dam site already has had trees and vegetation removed and other improvements such as a foundation and bridges put in place. After hippies were unable to stop the dam from flooding a nude beach, the earth rumbled in 1972 to effectively stop Congress from authorizing the money for actual construction until seismic safety issues were studied further.

“The Auburn Dam — operated in tandem with Hell Hole, French Meadows and Folsom Dam reservoirs — offers a powerful one-two-three-four punch of expanding water storage and management for growing south state urban needs as well as enhancing flood protection.”